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Premiership Season Preview 2013-2014
Arsenal Arsene Wenger
Talk has it that Arsene Wenger can splash the cash this summer and buy a few world stars. Through careful management Wenger has managed to finance a continued presence in the Champions League and the paying off of their new stadium by spending limited amounts on players. So far this summer there have been bids for Higuain from Real Madrid and Suarez from Liverpool, which shows he means business. Fellaini, Fabregas and Bender from Leverkeusen have also been mentioned as possible buys. Knowing Wenger though he’ll still unearth some French or African (with French colonial ties) out of the woodwork who will burst out onto the scene. If Arsenal buy well then they can certainly make the title race interesting and I think they’ll comfortably challenge for third. 90
Aston Villa Christian Benteke
So Villa have been very busy in the transfer market so far and let’s face it they need to be. Flirting with relegation for most of the season, they needed new players and so they’ve already brought in 6 players who can only strengthen the squad. The real problem that Villa face is the problem of strikers: Bent who wants to play but can’t get a game and Benteke who wants to move to a bigger club. Quotes for Benteke have been as much as 25 mil and with Arsenal and Spurs interested they might just get that. If Villa could then replace him with Demba Ba from Chelsea for 10 mil or so then that might be some decent business on their part. I think they’ll be better this season than last and with Lambert building the squad they’ll probably end up mid table somewhere.
Cardiff City Tom Ince
So finally Cardiff got there. After years of being so close they finally gained promotion. They’re absolute priority now is to stay there and they’ve invested well in young striker, Andreas Cornelius (£7.5m, FC Copenhagen). If they could get hold of Tom Ince as well then they might have a chance of survival. There tends to be a team which arrives from the Championship and does well, Cardiff are my tip for doing that.
So the return of the special one actually happened. Mourinho is
back and with that a huge amount of expectation. He’s already spent quite a bit of money on Schurlle and Van Ginkel and strengthened his goalkeeping position with the signing of Mark Schwarzer from Fulham for free. Out goes players well past their sell by date such as Benayoun, Ferreira, Hilario and Malouda. Whoever Jose picks to fill those spaces will bring extra class and squad competition and I fully expect Chelsea to challenge for the title this season. Hulk, Dzeko, Modric, Rossi, Sneijder, Yilmaz and Rooney have all been mentioned and owner Roman Abramovich can probably buy them all. Chelsea will be stronger this season and with Mourinho’s will to win I think less experienced managers may fall to his antics. Possible title winners.
gone and brought in 3 Wigan players who er...got relegated last year. Can Martinez continue the success of the past? I have my doubts and I also expect Everton to tumble down the table to a mid table slot. If they keep hold of Baines and Fellaini then they have a chance of challenging for Europe, if they lose them, then they have no chance.
Fulham Martin Jol
Crystal Palace Peter odemwingie
So Palace waited until the last game and the playoffs and the last minute of extra time to score a dubious penalty to gain promotion. That they did so with the help of Wilfried Zaha bought by Manchester United and now going off to join them, Palace have a tough task to not go straight back down again. They’re in the mix to buy Peter Odemwingie from West Brom and he might fill the Zaha gap. They may still struggle though and will have to fight off relegation all season.
So Al fayed has sold up to Americans; that’s 6 Premiership teams owned by Yanks now. But with that extra money Fulham may surprise quite a few people this season. Martin Jol is a top class manager and with the new players of Stekelenburg, Boateng and possibly Defoe they could end up in the top half of the table. If the new owners spend some money though because if they don’t Fulham will struggle once again.
with Darren Bent from Villa and he would be perfect to bring the goals in. Carlton Cole, Lee Cattermole and Palacios would also do a job and if they could get those type of players they could certainly survive. I have a feeling that they won’t though.
This is a massive season for Liverpool and if Brendan Rodgers doesn’t get it right, he’ll be out by Christmas. He’ll have to deal with Suarez wanting to leave and needing to strengthen that vacant strikers position and holes in the defense. If he does that then he has a chance of challenging for top 5 at least. So far he’s bought well with Kolo Toure on a free and Alberto, Aspas and Mignolet for 23 mil combined, those players will strengthen the squad but he needs at least 2 if not 3 players who could walk into the first team. He’s been linked with defender Papadopoulos from Schalke and Alderweireld (defense) and Eriksen (att mid) from Ajax. All would strengthen Liverpool even when Suarez leaves.
Manchester City Manuel Pellegrini
Everton Everton have been turned into a top 6 team under Moyes with limited money. Now that Moyes has gone what should be expected? Well Roberto Martinez from Wigan is the replacement and he’s instantly
Steve Bruce’s Hull arrive and deservedly so. They’ve signed some seasoned pro’s with premiership experience and they will certainly need it if they’re not to get relegated. Hull have been linked
City seriously underachieved last season and that was down to Mancini. His odd devotion to Balotelli unsettled the squad until Christmas and after that he just messed up tactically. It was right 91
to get rid of him because one got the feeling that he had lost the squad and they had started to question him. Never a good thing. Pellegrini from Malaga now arrives and he will change the whole ethos of the club. Pellegrini was never given a fair chance at Real Madrid and so now comes to a club who will back him up completely. He’s already bought Fernandinho for 30 million and Jesus Navas for 15 mil and he shows no sign at stopping there. Despite Carlos Tevez leaving for Juventus, the City squad is probably still the best in the premiership and with a couple more good additions I can see City being a serious force not only in the league but also the Champions League (with Pellegrini excelling at times).
As the summer has continued I’m still surprised to see no major signing for United. Having missed out on Thiago to Bayern Munich, I was still expecting quite a few signings by now. The only arrival is Wilfried Zaha who was signed by Fergie last season. There have been rumours about Leighton Baines and Fellaini following Moyes from Everton and of course the return of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. All three are in serious doubt and if United aren’t careful they’ll start the season with an aging squad and a disgruntled Rooney. This of course might be the reason Fergie left the job and saw that a squad rebuild will take too long. Moyes can do this but whether he gets the same amount of time as Fergie did is another matter. Without at least 4 or 5 essential buys United might struggle. I think United will still get top 4 but only just, which might prove very interesting indeed. 92
What can you say about Newcastle? A team which at times was everybody’s favourite second team. Not now and not with Joe f***ing Kinnear at the helm as Director of Football. A disaster waiting to happen. Newcastle were unlucky with injuries last season and if that continues Newcastle will have relegation to worry about. With no money forthcoming from Mike Ashley I can see it being a long and perilous season for Newcastle fans.
Norwich did pretty well on their first year back in the premiership and I think they’ll strengthen again with Chris Hughton. Buying Ricky van Wolfswinkel for 8.6 mil was a bold move and he should do well. Garrido from Lazio will also add some experience and quality. I expect Norwich to comfortably end up mid table with even a sniff of European football at times.
decision of sacking Adkins and bringing in Mauricio Pocheettino. The team played pretty well for the rest of the season and now the board is buying well with the arrival of Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama for 20 million combined. If no money is spent strengthening any team they will flirt with relegation and if relegated it can mean financial disaster. Just look at Leeds and Forest and this season, Newcastle.
Stoke City Mark Hughes
So the return of Mark Hughes to the Premiership after the debacle of his stay at QPR. I’ve never rated Hughes as a manager and I still don’t. Stoke sacked manager Tony Pulis after 7 years who had turned Stoke into Premiership stalwarts. As soon as there were some difficulties they sacked him, how people forget. Stoke will remain hard to beat, but at heart they’re one dimensional and with their strike force aging I think they might be in trouble this season. They’ll flirt with relegation for most of it.
Sunderland Paolo di Canio
Southampton Victor Wanyama
Fair play to Southampton with their signings both on and off the field. The board took the strange
So Paolo di Canio did make a massive difference at the end of last season, because the previous manager Martin O’Neill had lost the team. Sunderland have been linked with 2 Spurs players Parker and Huddlestone who can only strengthen them. Though they’ve sold the best goalkeeper in the
premiership to Liverpool they’ve also brought in striker Altidore who can really play, Giaccherini as playmaker, Peruzzi in defence and quite a few others. I think Sunderland will improve this season and as long as they end up above hated local rivals Newcastle I think they’ll be very happy. They’ll survive and end up in mid table somewhere.
he thinks they should be bringing in another striker at least I think he’ll be around next season. If they buy well and keep Bale then a top four finish can be theirs.
West Bromwich Albion Nicolas Anelka
So Laudrup looks like staying and he certainly has a nose for finding talent in Spain, buying 4 players. He’s also forked out 6 mil for Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool and Bony from Arnhem for 12 mil. There are bargains in Spain at the moment due to the economic crisis and keep an eye out for the Swansea Spaniards this year. Laudrup says he’s after one more striker and then he’ll be happy and with the likes of Lukaku from Chelsea and Negredo from Sevilla being mentioned, he seems to have money to spend. I fully expect Swansea to challenge for Europe this season.
Steve Clarke continues to go about his business quietly and with not much media fanfare. Brendan Rodgers take note. With the arrival of Anelka and Popov West Brom have added some class to their team. Odemwingie will be gone soon and so will no longer cast a shadow over the rest of the team which is all to the good. Kalou, Malouda and Sinclair have all been mentioned and they would all add quality to the team. I expect West Brom to challenge for Europe next season.
DOES YOUR BAR SHOW THE FOOTBALL?
West Ham United Andy Carroll
Tottenham Hotspur Gareth Bale
So close last season and if they can keep Bale away from the clutches of Real Madrid then they can go one better this season. They’ve bought an excellent player in Paulinho for 17 mil from Corinthians and I expect a couple more buys in the coming months. There’s talk of selling Defoe but as
There has been talk of a return of Joey Barton to the premiership and if anyone can get the best out of the mad one, then Allardyce probably can. With Cole and Nolan playing well and the possibility of interest in Downing, I expect a top ten finish once more from the Hammers and maybe even a challenge for Europe.
The purchase of Andy Carroll shows intent and if the hammers bought another decent striker they could challenge for higher than their tenth finish of last season. Allardyce will make them physically strong but also allow a certain amount of flair as well. Carroll might shine once he gains his confidence and if the team plays to his strengths.
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Swansea vs Man Utd
SATURDAY 17TH AUGUST Arsenal vs A Villa
Stoke always make it difficult for Liverpool and will try to out muscle them. If Stoke can keep it tight and frustrate the Reds then this could end in stalemate, but I think Liverpool know that they have to start well this season and as it’s at home they should just edge it. 2-0.
Norwich vs Everton
This could be a cracking match with both sides much to prove. Norwich will be improved and they are at home, and Everton doesn’t have Moyes, so that should even things up a bit. Everton should win this game but I think it’ll end up in a draw. 1-1.
Sunderland vs Fulham
Another interesting game which heralds new beginnings for both sides; post Al Fayed and post Martin O’Neill. With the amount of unknown Italians and Latins being bought by di Canio, Sunderland could be completely unrecognizable from last season. If they gel well they could surprise a lot of people which I think they will do here on the first day. 2-1 to Sunderland. 94
FIXTURES & PREDICTIONS
Liverpool vs Stoke City
With the money spent this summer on world stars, Arsenal face Aston Villa who diced with relegation last season. Villa will have probably lost their star player Benteke and so expect similar struggles for Villa this season. Arsenal are at home and a much better side so I’ll go for a 2-0 win to Arsenal.
Saturday 17th August – Saturday 1st September
West Brom vs Southampton
This is not the best game United would want on their first game back. Sure it will test them to the hilt because Swansea will certainly fancy their chances and if United come through and win then all will be roses. But if they take time to get used to Moyes system? And if they lose and struggle? It’ll be interesting to see how United respond. Personally I can’t wait! 1-1 draw.
Both have strengthened and play attractive football and as this is the first game of the season this could be a humdinger. Anelka can score blindfolded and Wanyama for Southampton can do too, West Brom might just edge it though 3-2.
West Ham vs Cardiff
West Ham will want to put the new boys in their place. So with their squad of quality players such as Carroll, Cole and Nolan against the new Welsh boys, I think they’ll edge the game. 1-0 to the Hammers.
SUNDAY 18TH AUGUST Chelsea vs Hull City
Mourinho’s Chelsea face newcomers Hull. It should be a full house at Stamford Bridge and so expect a bit of a cake walk for Chelsea. All the Chelsea players will have something to prove and can still be sold. As this is the first game of the season, Hull will want to show themselves in a good light and have nothing to lose. I still see Chelsea winning though 2-0.
C Palace vs Tottenham
A tricky game for Spurs as Palace will certainly want to show their stuff for their first game at home. This may well be a draw if Spurs are found sleeping. 1-1
MONDAY 19TH AUGUST Man City vs Newcastle
In the old days this would be an excellent game to look forward, but Newcastle need a minor miracle this season which isn’t going to come at City. City players will want to make a mark to the new manager and tell the rest of the premiership that they mean business. 3-0 to City.
SATURDAY 24TH AUGUST Aston Villa vs Liverpool
This game should be a foregone conclusion with a Liverpool away win. Liverpool were better away from Anfield last season than they were at home and Villa ok at home. If Villa can stifle Liverpool then they may get some joy from the game, but personally I can’t see it. 1-2 to Liverpool.
Everton vs West Brom
Has Martinez got what it takes? Can he continue the success of Everton or turn them into another Wigan? West Brom will certainly test them and I have a feeling that West Brom will win today. 0-1. tinez Roberto Mar
Fulham vs Arsenal
I would imagine the most important thing to drum into the Fulham players would be containment. If Fulham can do that then they might get something out of this game. They’re not going to though. 0-1 to Arsenal.
Hull City vs Norwich
A time for Hull to prove themselves and so welcome Norwich to their ground. I see a draw here 0-0 and they’ll both be happy with it.
Newcastle vs West Ham
know damn well he can’t. No mind games from United now which might make all the difference in the title challenge. Moyes is devoutly Christian and won’t lower himself to such matters and concentrate on football and so Mourinho will wipe the floor with him. And the winner is? Chelsea 0 -1.
Southampton vs Sunderland
To St James Park and home for Newcastle. They will need their home support this season to be very vocal to balance the lack of money coming into the team. This won’t be good enough but at least the fans will be up for it. This has a draw written all over it. 1-1.
Southampton have a chance of winning this, their first home game and I think they will. It’s a long way to travel for Sunderland and their heart might not just be in it. 2-0 to Southampton.
Stoke City vs C Palace
Two teams with nothing to lose and no real expectations. This game could go either way as Stoke are at home and Palace might attack and want the 3 points. A draw here is to be expected 1-1.
SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST Tottenham vs Swansea
Another tricky game for Spurs as Swansea are no mugs and will want to prove themselves. Spurs though should have just enough class to win out. If they fail at this stage they will not be in the running for the season. Spurs to win 2-1.
Cardiff vs Man City
New teams can provide shocks at the start of the season. Can Cardiff shock City? Unlikely. But they may get a draw. I’ll go for 1-1.
MONDAY 26TH AUGUST
SATURDAY 31ST AUGUST Cardiff vs Everton
Cardiff greet Everton and both teams will want to prove a point to the rest of the league. Cardiff want to send a message that they’re strong at home and Everton away from home. I think Cardiff will get their first win here. 1-0 to Cardiff.
Chelsea vs A Villa
Chelsea meet Villa and will want to get the full 3 points. They’ll do so as well as I can’t see Villa having any chance against Mourinho’s men. 2-0 to Chelski.
C Palace vs Sunderland Crystal Palace can be a difficult place to go to, but I can see Sunderland getting all the points today. Only just though. 0-1.
Paolo de Canio
Man Utd vs Chelsea
Great game with no prisoners taken. Expect loads of nonsense from Mourinho about how he was offered the United job but turned it down ‘cos he’ll always be Chelsea’ etc. I’m looking forward to seeing if Moyes can respond, but I 95
Man City will want to stamp their mark on regaining their title and so will want to put Hull to the sword. Hull will do well just to keep the score down and possibly might cause a few problems. Man city to win though 1-0.
Though Newcastle might be in turmoil they still have home advantage here and if some injuries get back on the field they may even edge this one against Fulham who never really travel well. Newcastle win. 1-0.
Liverpool vs Man Utd
One of the games of the season! A wobbly United against a team who will do anything and I mean anything to put a nail in their coffin. Football is more important than life and death? These two clubs would happily put a nail into the coffin of the opposing side. Suarez can’t play because he’s still banned and United are still missing a lot of key personnel. So how will this end? I think Liverpool will edge this. 1-0.
West Brom vs Swansea
The 2 surprise packages of last season meet for the first time in this one. Both teams play attractive football and I think they just might go for goals. I’ll go for a West Brom win 3-2.
West Ham vs Stoke City
Arsenal vs Tottenham
Top class game at this stage with the winner laying down bragging rights for half of the season. Both games went to Spurs last time and so they’ll fancy their chances this year round. But because this game is at Arsenal both side will probably settle for a point. 2-2. Arsene Wenger
This may be the season that we see the back of Stoke. It came close last season and I don’t see Mark Hughes being good enough to change things. Allardyce however continues to build and I think West Ham can become a force this season. West Ham to win 2-0.
30th August Bayern Munich vs Chelsea
Norwich vs Southampton
Although Southampton are a good team I think Norwich can outplay anybody on their day and I think with the sunlight at Carrow Road they’ll beat Southampton quite comfortably. 2-1 to Norwich.
European Super Cup
Newcastle vs Fulham
SUNDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER
This cup has started to gain in importance over the past few years. It looks good on a managers CV and it can provide a spur for the Champions League which is essential to any club. Mourinho vs Guardiola. The fight is on. Both will SERIOUSLY want to prove a point after all the antics in Spain aka Real Madrid vs Barcelona. Who will win? Bayern will. 2-1.
Man City vs Hull City
Andre Villas Boas
US PGA Championship
8th-11th August - Oak Hill Country Club, New York
Will McIlroy retain his title? Rory McIlroy caught his first glimpse of the course where he’ll defend his PGA Championship title in August, and he liked what he saw of Oak Hill Country Club, with its mature trees at every turn. ‘’When I think of the PGA Championship, I think of courses like this. This course is timeless,’’ McIlroy said Monday after shooting 67 in a practice round. ‘’It’s not only long, but it’s hard to drive the ball well. You’ve got some chances out there. Then again, you’ve got a tough finish.’’ The 24-year-old Northern Irishman, also the 2011 U.S. Open champion, has had a fairly rough year so far. He missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and walked out of the second round at the Honda Classic in a display of utter frustration. His game has since begun to slowly turn around, though he has yet to win this year – and has been replaced at No. 1 in the world ranking by Tiger Woods. ‘’Great players are defined by their major victories,’’ McIlroy said. ‘’Whenever you think about a golf legacy, you think about the majors. I guess I got off to a good start. I want to keep that going.’’ 98
t s n e m a n r u o T August
Firestone Country Club
Montreux Golf and Country Club Firestone Country Club
l World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational 29th July - 4th August
Oak Hill Country Club
Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio
l Reno-Tahoe Open 29th July - 4th August
MontrĂŞux Golf and Country Club, Reno, Nevada
l US PGA Championship 8th - 11th August
Sedgefield Country Club
Oak HIll Country Club, Rochester, New York
l Wyndham Championship 12th - 18th August
Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
l Johnnie Walker Championship 22nd - 25th August
Gleneagles The Celtic Manor Resort
Gleneagles at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
l ISPS Handa Wales Open 29th - 1st September
The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales the Costa
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